June 2018 DAIT Council-Approved Concepts

Concepts represent early planning stages for program announcements, requests for applications, or solicitations for Council's input. If NIAID publishes an initiative from one of these concepts, we link to it below. To find initiatives, go to Opportunities & Announcements.

NB: Council approval does not guarantee that a concept will become an initiative.

Table of Contents

Immune Response to Arthropod Blood Feeding

For the published program announcement with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations, see the July 19, 2018 Guide announcement, Immune Response to Arthropod Blood Feeding (R21, Clinical Trial Not Allowed).

Nonhuman Primate (NHP) Radiation Survivor Cohort

Request for Applications—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Andrea DiCarlo-Cohen

Objective: This initiative will allow for preserving an extremely valuable, large animal resource. The ability to adopt, monitor, and treat NHP survivors of radiation exposure provides information that is critical to understanding the natural history of radiation exposures, to include early and late injuries and disease development. NHPs are widely considered to be the animal model that most closely resembles human responses to radiation exposure, and as such, the survivor colony will permit continuous observations and treatment of these important animals.

Description: This new initiative will support the following, including but not limited to: maintaining an occupational health program as well as research and training for employees working with NHPs; environmental enrichment and behavioral monitoring of NHPs; pathology and necropsy (to include histology and immunohistochemistry); sample imaging; irradiation facilities; funding for clinical studies and other laboratory space (to enable standard analyses such as serum chemistries, blood counts, as well as molecular and cellular analyses); funds to provide animal transport to and from the site for adoptions and evaluations; providing per diem expenses to house, feed, evaluate, and treat NHP radiation survivors and age-matched, unirradiated control animals; funding to carry out radiographic exams (e.g., x-rays, CTs, MRIs) to evaluate animal health status; and funding to maintain a catalogue/database of available samples and data to be made available to the research community for a nominal fee through a reviewed process.

Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation Consortium

Request for Applications—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Andrea DiCarlo-Cohen

Objective: To maintain a network of national research centers to develop effective and comprehensive medical countermeasures applicable to all subsets of the civilian population in the event of a radiological or nuclear, mass casualty, public health emergency. Multidisciplinary, basic, and translational research will produce new techniques and devices to 1) measure radiation exposure in the human body, 2) follow biomarkers of tissue damage and recovery, and 3) develop novel therapies to minimize tissue damage, hasten tissue recovery, restore normal physiological function, and improve survival.

Description: The Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation Consortium (CMCRC) will operate in a flexible, cooperative, and multidisciplinary manner to provide comprehensive research support to develop medical products for civilian populations that will assess, diagnose, mitigate, and/or treat the short- and long-term consequences of radiation exposure after a radiological/nuclear incident. This program will support both basic and translational research, including mechanisms of action to move forward candidate medical countermeasures into advanced product development. The following research areas will be supported:

  • Practical biodosimetry devices and techniques, biomarker assays, and other automated diagnostic systems to rapidly assess levels of radiation exposure and tissue damage early after the event, and during the treatment and recovery phase
  • Research and development of medical countermeasures for mitigating and/or treating acute and/or delayed radiation injuries to the hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, cutaneous, pulmonary, renal, cardiovascular, and/or central nervous system of the body with the ultimate goal of increasing survival when administered 24 hours or later post-irradiation
  • Therapeutic regimens with emphasis on broad effective efficacy, ease of administration, and safety
  • Medical countermeasures to treat radiation combined injuries (radiation exposure concomitant with burn, wound, infection, or other physiological trauma)
  • Mechanism of action of potential countermeasures in irradiated animal models predictive of human responses
  • Characterization of injury and countermeasures for treating radiation injuries in highly susceptible subpopulations including pregnant, pediatric, geriatric, and immune-compromised persons
  • Product development efforts leading to the submission of an investigational new drug application to FDA to facilitate eventual licensure and potential inclusion in the Strategic National Stockpile. These include: efficacy studies to optimize formulation, dose, and dose scheduling; Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)-pilot efficacy studies to inform the design of GLP-pivotal efficacy study protocols; drug product stability studies; drug product current Good Manufacturing Practice manufacturing scale-up; GLP toxicology and pharmacology safety studies; pharmacokinetic (PK), pharmacodynamic, and metabolism studies; development of GLP analytical methods for efficacy studies, PK, and product characterization.

This initiative will also support the awarding of pilot project funds to the research community with $2.5 million of the funding earmarked as pilot project funds–to be decided by peer review and awarded by a CMCRC Pilot Project Core.

Radiation Biodosimetry Assays and Devices

Request for Applications—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Merriline Vedamony

Objective: This initiative will enable both early- and mid-stage research to accelerate developing radiation biodosimetry assays and devices to rapidly assess radiation dose as well as predict the consequences of immediate (days) and delayed (months to years) radiation effects to major organs in an individual.

Description: This initiative will support research and development of radiation biodosimetry assays and devices for acute and delayed radiation syndrome.

NIH Tetramer Core Facility

Request for Proposals—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Mirabel Miranda

Objective: This initiative will support the continuation of the NIH Tetramer Core Facility, a reagent resource that provides custom-made major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, non-classical MHC, and MHC class II tetramers; CD1 ligands; and related products to the research community worldwide.

Description: The NIH Tetramer Core Facility provides custom synthesis and distribution of soluble MHC-peptide tetramer reagents that can be used to detect antigen-specific T cells. The current contract supports 1) monomer and tetramer production and distribution and 2) a research and development component to improve tetramer production technologies and facilitate generating novel tetramer reagents and ligands. Approved investigators pay all shipping and handling costs for requested reagents and also provide purified peptides for syntheses of all MHC class I and some custom class II tetramer reagents.

The contract renewal solicitation will continue to support 1) monomer and tetramer production and distribution and 2) a research and development component to improve tetramer production technologies and facilitate generating novel tetramer reagents and ligands.

Atopic Dermatitis Research Network

Request for Applications—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Kelly Stone

Objective: This initiative aims to further improve our understanding of the defense mechanisms of the skin and host defense defects leading to infection susceptibility by focusing on differences in skin structure/function and in immune responses among patients with atopic dermatitis, healthy individuals, or disease controls. Furthermore, this initiative will implement interventions aimed at improving the skin’s immune and barrier function in order to improve cutaneous defenses and, consequently, prevent infectious complications and the acute and long-term impact of atopic dermatitis on the health of children and adults.

More specifically, research areas to be pursued by the proposed Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (ADRN) initiative include:

  • Evaluating the immune and skin barrier impairments leading to cutaneous viral (e.g., herpes simplex) and bacterial (e.g., S. aureus) infections
  • Evaluating the role of the skin microbiome in host defense, including the effects of microbiome perturbations on cutaneous immunity, and the effects of targeted biologic treatments on the skin microbiome
  • Evaluating the role of proteins in both the stratum corneum and the tight junctions, as well as the role of cutaneous lipids in host defense and in the chronic inflammatory aspects of atopic dermatitis
  • Studying the genetic and epigenetic basis of the cutaneous host defense abnormalities and the chronic inflammatory aspects of atopic dermatitis in children and adults, including susceptibility to eczema herpeticum and eczema vaccinatum
  • Designing and conducting clinical trials to treat atopic dermatitis and its chronic consequences on skin function and defenses in children and adults, as well as on the long-term inflammatory consequences in children
  • Developing and validating sample-sparing assays and non-invasive methods to study cutaneous immunity and characterizing the cutaneous microbiome in infancy

The above research focus includes some modifications in scope in order to follow up on the most promising research results obtained by the current ADRN. These include 1) emphasis on the role of microbiome in developing and maintaining atopic dermatitis and immune function, 2) further dissection of the mechanisms of microbiome-cutaneous immune system interactions, through microbiome and cutaneous immunity perturbations, 3) inclusion of broader agnostic, systems biology approaches, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and lipidomics, and 4) studying immune responses to atopic dermatitis-associated pathogens in other skin conditions, such as ichthyosis or psoriasis, as controls.

Description: This initiative will support a network of investigators with expertise in dermatology, allergy and immunology, infectious diseases, and the genetics of atopic dermatitis. Awardees will conduct collaborative and single-site studies, including clinical trials and observational studies, in humans and animal models.

Content last reviewed on July 20, 2018